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Message from the Kiwi Commodore

Published on April 7th, 2022

The America’s Cup Deed of Gift requires entries to represent clubs, with the event attracting some of the most proud and prominent yacht clubs in the sport. These esteemed organizations had historically ruled the roost, but now with the heightened effort to commercialize the event, and the rising cost to compete, their relevance has been minimized

This was highlighted by Larry Ellison while looking for a club for his first entry in 2003. When he found Golden Gate Yacht Club to be financially struggling, he provided needed capital in exchange for board seats and power. Puppeteer to his puppet.

After a decade and a half away from sailing’s flagship competition, the New York Yacht Club had returned for the 2021 edition, but when they waffled about doing it again for 2024, nobody would have blamed them. Their last experience was the 2002-03 event when clubs mattered. Now they don’t.

But they have returned for the 37th edition, wisely rebranding the team New York Yacht Club American Magic so at least their name gets included. Take what you can get these days.

The club of the America’s Cup defender, Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, has been feeling the heat these days with the decision to take the event overseas and host the 2024 event in Barcelona, Spain. In this letter to membership, Commodore Aaron Young seeks to explain:

There has been a lot of discussion and understandably many questions asked both by members directly and in the media, about the role and views of the RNZYS in the recent decision for the 37th America’s Cup defense to be staged in Barcelona.

We, as the Trustees of the America’s Cup, have always taken the view that Auckland is our preferred venue, however we have also been realistic in this position, in that any venue decision must ensure the viability and success of Team New Zealand, the Event, and our organization.

Unfortunately, Auckland in the end was not an option due to a number of reasons. These included limitations of the Government offer (while valued at $99m of support, only $31m of this was in cash investment); and an understandable lack of appetite to invest more given the state of the economy and the impact of COVID.

While there has been lots of discussion and suggestions to the contrary (with inaccurate assumptions made on income and costs), no confirmed private funding was available.

Whether we like it or not the America’s Cup is a major financial undertaking – now more than ever, and while we are disappointed that Auckland isn’t able to host AC37, we are very happy with the decision for Barcelona to do so.

There has been a lot of inappropriate commentary and suggestion that the Squadron abdicated its responsibility in this decision, and that it was effectively made by Team New Zealand without our involvement. This could not be further from the truth.

Your General Committee and Team New Zealand made this decision to host the AC37 in Barcelona, together. It was not made by Grant Dalton on his own. We have received huge support from all of the Challengers, and also support and mutual agreement from our Challenger of Record, the Royal Yacht Squadron.

As you know, we have strict processes and structures for any significant decisions that impact the Squadron and you, our members. In this instance, the Squadron’s AC Committee has had discussions and meetings almost daily with Team New Zealand.

The General Committee (your Executive) have the final decision-making role in the Club, and voted 100% in favor for AC37 to be staged in Barcelona, having carefully considered all the facts and consequences that they were privy to.

While the Squadron does not get involved in every detail of how the team or event is run (that is the Team’s responsibility under our agreement with them), we have focused on our core purpose – to promote Corinthian yachting. We look forward to making sure we do this well, and help grow the sport we all love.

Team New Zealand have proudly represented the Squadron for over 25 years and have been very successful winning the America’s Cup four times since 1995. Their approach to winning lines up with what a sports club would like to see from a professional representative team. They are also a proven innovative company, taking many New Zealand born ideas and technology to the world.

We appreciate the support extended to your leadership and General Committee around this decision and while we know it has not pleased everyone, we stand by our decision that it is the right one to make for our Club, our Team, and the America’s Cup event and now look forward to providing members unique benefits in Barcelona in 2024.

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on by March 30, 2022.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
• INEOS Britannia (GBR)
• Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
• Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
• NYYC American Magic (USA)

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